• Speakers and panelists at the Executive Summit consist of insurance technology leaders with insights and expertise in the areas of IT innovation and competitive differentiation. Speakers will be primarily senior-level insurance/financial services executives.

    We welcome your suggestions for speakers at the Executive Summit. If you would like to suggest yourself or someone else as a potential speaker, please e-mail the following information to Kathy Burger, Editorial Director, Insurance & Technology, kburger@techweb.com:
    • Name/Title/Company
    • Phone number/E-mail address
    • Indicate which session is most appropriate for this speaker (please visit the program/agenda page of this site).
    • Describe your expertise as it relates to this topic.
    If you are a technology vendor (or represent a vendor), describe which of your insurance industry clients could speak about their success using your products.

    Due to the large number of submissions, we cannot respond individually. We will contact you directly if we want to follow up on your proposal.


    Mike HydanusSenior Vice President and Chief Administrative OfficerNational Western LifeMr. Hydanus is Senior Vice President – Chief Administrative Officer National Western Life (NWL), Austin, TX.  Originally having joined NWL as CIO, Mr. Hydanus is leading the company’s efforts to redesign and reautomate all operational processes – via “Project Connex”, one of the largest such efforts currently underway in the life insurance industry.  Prior to joining NWL, Mr. Hydanus was previously with Financial Industries Corporation (Austin, TX) serving as Chief Operations Officer and ultimately as Interim President and Chief Executive Officer.  Previously, Mr. Hydanus operated Sage Consulting Group (California and Tennessee) and in his earlier career, he held various senior management positions at MetLife, Baltimore Life, Columbian Financial Group, Delta Life & Annuity, and National Guardian Life.
    Connie O’BrienSVP, Internet Strategy & DevelopmentAXA EquitableConnie O’Brien is senior vice president of Internet Strategy and Development. In this role, Ms. O’Brien oversees the use of technology as a key marketing enabler that enhances client and financial professional interaction with the company. She has chief responsibility for AXA-Equitable.com, as well as the company’s Search Engine Optimization initiative. Ms. O’Brien also co-manages AXA Equitable’s social media outreach.

    Prior to joining the company in 1997, Ms. O’Brien worked in Integrated Communications for John Hancock Financial Services. She has worked in the internet space since 1995, serving in previous roles at Modem Media and Jordan, McGrath, Case & Taylor.

    Ms O’Brien graduated from The University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in English Literature. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the YWCA NYC.
    Piyush SinghSenior Vice President and CIOGreat American InsurancePiyush Singh is currently Senior Vice-President/CIO of Great American Insurance Company and Vice-President of its parent company, American Financial Group. He is responsible for creating the vision and direction of Great American’s IT strategy in partnership with leaders within Great American’s business operations who, together, consider current and emerging business trends and the potential of the constantly evolving technology that is becoming an integrated part of the business environment. Mr. Singh’s objective is to strategize the direction and execute operationally to take the specialty insurer to the next generation. As an officer of American Financial Group, he provides a collaboration platform for technology standards, directions and strategies to the various Company subsidiaries and affiliates.

    Mr. Singh has successfully led an ambitious and large scale transformation of Great American Insurance’s operative platform and more importantly, has influenced the philosophy of doing business. This effort has established the company as a leading player in the Specialty Property and Casualty marketplace. His vision has led to a successful transition of the information technology function from custodian of a legacy IT environment to a respected partner that contributes to the success of the businesses it supports. Great American has implemented a modern technology architecture that is leading edge and is adaptive for future growth and business needs. The foundation that is now in place is significant to continued transformation at the workplace and an important cornerstone for ongoing future adaptability.

    Mr. Singh regards himself as a transformational and business-savvy CIO. He is one who can identify business opportunities that can leverage solutions from technology utilization; observe current and emerging patterns in business to identify opportunities and possibilities; analyze and break down complex problems to provide effective solutions across diverse business units within an organization; and very importantly drive through business and technology change efforts at the ground level as well as large scale to make transformation possible. As a collaborative, relationship-oriented professional with an international business background, Mr. Singh is comfortable with managing relationships at all levels and across different organizational dimensions. The depth of his experience and interpersonal skills enable Mr. Singh to easily establish new business contacts and understand and appreciate diversity and cultural differences at the workplace. He has developed a socio-cultural understanding of many underlying common barriers and acts as a coach/trainer for his staff in this regard.

    Piyush holds a master’s degree in computer applications from University of Delhi as well as an MBA from Bradley University. He has also attained the CPCU (Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter) designation.

    Piyush is currently on the Board of KARNA, American Red Cross of Greater Cincinnati, INTERAlliance, and Riverview East Academy Community PTO. He is on the Advisory Boards of Violin, University of Cincinnati College of Business IS program, Bradley University National Council of Advisors for College of Business, Ohio CIO Executive Summit and CIO Institute at the University of Chicago. He is a past Board member of International Association of Systems and Accounting (IASA).

    Piyush has the travelling bug in him, has been to six of the seven continents and trekked all the way to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro.
    Deborah M. SmallwoodFounderStrategy Meets ActionDeb is the founder of Strategy Meets Action, a strategic advisory firm offering a unique blend of advisory, research and consulting services to both insurance companies and solution providers. SMA takes a unique approach to analyzing market trends, best practices, and technology investment patterns and help insurers and solution providers make wise technology investments.

    Deb is highly respected throughout the insurance industry for strategic thinking, thought provoking research, and advisory skills. Insurers and solution providers turn to Deb for insight and guidance on business and IT linkage, IT strategy and IT investments across the value chain. Those seeking an edge in today’s highly competitive world turn to Deb to capitalize on her deep industry knowledge and experience and her specialized understanding of distribution and underwriting automation.

    Prior to launching Strategy Meets Action, Deb held a variety of leadership roles as the VP of TowerGroup Insurance Practice, Chief Transformation Officer at ICW, Partner at KPMG LLC and Head of Application Development at Liberty Mutual Commercial Lines.

    Deb is a frequent author to leading insurance publications including Insurance & Technology (I&T) and is often found as a keynote speaker at leading conferences such as ACORD/LOMA Forum, ACE, NAMIC, ISOTECH, and IASA.
    Bob WassermanSenior Vice President, MarketingAllstateAs Senior Vice President, Marketing - e-Business, Direct Marketing, and Customer Marketing, Bob is responsible for partnering with business leaders across the enterprise in developing Allstate’s overarching e-Business strategy to deepen customer relationships; effectively and dynamically interacting with consumers and customers through social media, e-commerce and mobile technologies; generating and capturing demand through direct marketing programs including direct mail, email, online advertising, paid search, and direct response television; and leading the operations and governance for corporate-driven customer contact programs.

    Bob joined Allstate in July, 2009, and his background includes over 25 years of experience in sales, marketing, Internet commerce and operations across a variety of industries. 

    Before joining Allstate, Bob was Executive Vice President, Sales, Marketing and Operations, for Rewards Network, Inc., in Chicago. There he led business-to-consumer and business-to-business marketing strategies and launched new website capabilities serving some 10,000 firms and 3 million customers that resulted in improved productivity, stronger consumer engagement and increased profitability.

    Prior to joining Rewards Network, Bob held senior roles at a number of companies, including AT&T, Ameritech Corporation and W.W. Grainger, Inc.
    Bob received his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan.
    Michael B. YetterDirector of eBusiness DevelopmentIndependence Blue CrossAs Director of eBusiness Development at Independence Blue Cross, Michael is responsible for delivery of customer-facing eCommerce systems to meet the needs of Sales, Marketing, and Operations. He manages the company’s individual sales eCommerce platform, member portal website, electronic eligibility systems, electronic billing, and associated vendor / technology partner relationships, and is also responsible for IBC Operations Plan for connections with PA & NJ state health insurance exchanges. 

    Michael has advanced IBC to a lead position in mobile technology among the Blue plans, through planning and delivering mobile health offerings, including full-featured mobile member portal and mobile exercise/wellness applications. Michael is also responsible for enhanced web analytics and championing direct customer feedback channels such as OpinionLab and has held responsibility for the benefits coding area of the operations division, responsible for product setup and medical policy implementation.

    Prior to joining Independence Blue Cross in 2008, Mike held various positions with Accenture, YSR Corporation, and Reserve Consulting within the pharmaceutical and health care industries in the areas of organizational development, technology implementation, project management, and business applications -- working closely with sales, marketing, back office, product management, and underwriting groups. Michael earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from Tufts University, and an MBA from Lehigh University.

    Editors & Moderators

    Katherine BurgerEditorial DirectorInsurance & TechnologyKatherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to directing the editorial strategy of both brands, Kathy is charged with the creation and development of new products, editorial supplements, special publications and live and online events including BS&T's Executive Summit, I&T's Executive Summit, Webcasts, live custom events and executive roundtables. Kathy is a frequent speaker/moderator at financial services industry conferences, and also has presented at a number of technology company user group and sales force events, as well as numerous Webcasts sponsored by industry leaders. She is a graduate of Carleton College.
    Nathan GoliaAssociate EditorInsurance & TechnologyNathan Golia is associate editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in June 2010.

    Nathan writes content for the print and online editions of Insurance & Technology, as well as its daily newsletter and blog.

    A veteran of the trade press, Nathan last worked at DMNews in various capacities. Before that, he was an assistant editor at The Toy Book. A proud Western New Yorker, Nathan graduated from Buffalo State College in 2006 with a degree in English.
    Anthony O’DonnellExecutive EditorInsurance & TechnologyAnthony O’Donnell has covered technology in the insurance industry since 2000, when he joined the editorial staff of Insurance & Technology. As an editor and reporter for I&T and the InformationWeek Financial Services of TechWeb he has written on all areas of information technology in the property/casualty, life and health insurance industries, following the trends and issues faced by senior technology executives. In addition to reporting and editorial duties for I&T, O’Donnell also serves as a moderator and speaker at industry events and broadcasts. He began his editorial career in the healthcare industry where he reported and edited for medical publications with a variety of audiences, from the general public to physicians and researchers. He has also worked in the healthcare field as a media relations professional and Spanish/English interpreter/translator, and has taught English composition and conversation classes to native speakers of Spanish, both in the United States and in Latin America. O’Donnell lives in the Portland, Oregon area with his wife and two sons.